Saturday, August 8, 2020

A Successful Hunt Down of a Red Vinhao Escolha from Vinho Verde DOC #WinePW


Double down on a hard-to-find Red Vinho Verde at the Vinho Verde Experience Event

Vinho Verde is the biggest wine region (DOC) of Portugal, up in the cool, rainy, lushly green north west. A Vinho Verde also literally translates as “green wine” or “young wine”, indicatively referring to the white grape varieties, which account for 85% of the wine production in the Vinho Verde region. Cindy Rynning from Grape Experiences and Liz Barrett from What’s in that Bottle invited the #WinePW to discover Vinho Verde. I honestly didn’t have a Vinho Verde wine to taste right in front of me. I did have the fond memory of a Red Vinho Verde - Quinta das arcas Vinhão Escolha, taking three years to hunt down one...

5 Fun Facts of Vinho Verde:

  • You can’t beat the price. Vinho Verde's SRP starts at $5.
  • Reds (e.g., Espadeiro, Padeiro and Vinhão) and Rosés account for 14% of the total wine production in Vinho Verde DOC.
  • Sparkling wines were permitted to be made in the DOC since 1999.
  • Single-variety Vinho Verde wines, mostly made from Alvarinho or Loureiro, are age-worthy. The blend of white grapes (e.g., the previous two grapes, Arinto, Avesso, Azal and Trajudura), which are found in most Vinho Verdes, have lesser potential for cellaring.
  • Red Vinho Verde is dark, high in acidity, low in alcohol, made primarily from the late-ripening, red-fleshed Vinhão grape. 

Photo Credit: Wines of Portugal 

The Hunt Down of a Red Vinho Verde
My experience with Vinho Verde started with the New York City Vinho Verde Experience Tasting Event back in 2017. Back then, I was hired as a pourer in the event, learned all about Vinho Verde myself, and talked about the wines I poured. However, even I learned about the Reds from the brochure, there were hardly any red Vinho Verde, not on my tables or others.
Pouring at the Vinho Verde Experience Event

In 2018, I went with a group of friends to the same event hosted atop a beautiful rooftop of a converted warehouse building. We tasted a lot of Vinho Verde cocktails as well as a lot of white Vinho Verde and some Rosés. But again, there were no sight of Reds.
Last year, I went back to the event that was held at night in a mid-town Manhattan  hotel for a very rush tasting, in and out within half an hour, as I had my teenage daughter waiting for me in the hotel lobby (don’t be an irresponsible mom like me!). I eventually found and tasted a red Vinho Verde - Quinta das arcas Vinhão Escolha 2014What a big contrast with the thirty Vinho Verde I tasted there…Vinhão Escolha is violet but transparent in color. It’s dry, medium-bodied and tannic, and has high acidity, pronounced raspberries with a touch of grass, chocolate and oak. Unfortunately, this wine is still not available online or via retail in the US. The representative of Quinta das arcas told me that they were looking for a distributor. 
SRP 16.80€ per the Winery's website; Vinhão 100%, ABV 12%

Pairing Ideas with Vinhão Escolha

I think the sky is the limit in terms of food pairing options with this Vinhão Escolha. It could be heartier finger foods such as stuffed mushrooms, mini meatballs, fried calamari, or entrée such as roasted chicken or duck, a lean cut of steak, or a burger. In the context of Chinese food pairings, I would strongly recommend Char Siu (roasted BBQ pork). For me, if I could get hold of this bottle again, I would cut out the cooking and just order from my favorite Chinese take-out place…anything with a bit sauce from the menu will go.

Take a look at which Vinho Verde the other #WinePW bloggers is drinking:
  • Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Cam shares Foods from Around the World Paired with Pink Wines from Portugal 
  • Liz Barret of What’s In That Bottle? is thrilled with Va Va Va Vinho Verde: the Portuguese White That Wows 
  • Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles answers What is Vinho Verde? 5 things I didn’t know about this perfect summer wine 
  • Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm savors Tomato Poached Cod with Vinho Verde Wine. 
  • Linda at My Full Wine Glass realizes that Distinctively ‘laurel” Vinho Verde Delivers with Seafood and Salad 
  • Nicole at SommsTable is loving Vinho Verde and Simple Seafood Feast 
  • Payal at Keep the Peas is pairing Sem Igual Vinho Verde with Peixe Caldine 
  • Gwendolyn at Wine Predator says Vinho Verde: A Green Wine That’s White from Portugal Paired with Tuna, Tomato, Basil, Orzo #WinePW 
  • Martin at Enofylz is Pairing Maria Papoila Vinho Verde with Summer Pizza 
  • Susannah at Avvinare explains how Vinho Verde Meets Homemade Sushi 
  • Terri at Our Good Life savors Scallops, Smashed Peas and a Great Vinho Verde 
  • Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairing achieves A Successful Hunt Down of a Red Vinhao Escolha from Vinho Verde DOC #WinePW 
  • Cindy at Grape Experiences has been reminiscing upon last fall’s work trip where she spent A Beautiful Morning at Quinta da Aveleda in Vinho Verde

    1. Too bad this red Vinho Verde isn't available in the States. Would love to taste a wine with raspberry, grass, and chocolate notes!

    2. Wow you found the magical Red Vinho Verde Unicorn wine! It sounds delicious "pronounced raspberries with a touch of grass, chocolate and oak". Perhaps if we keep discussing this wine, they will start to import it to the US!

    3. What an amazing description you had for this wine....I am very jealous that I will probably never have the opportunity to try it.

    4. It really is too bad that there isn't more red Vinho Verde available in the states. I've only had a very few examples myself, but I think your pairing ideas are spot on. Thanks for sharing and cheers!

    5. Whoa, now that is persitence Pinny! I'm glad you found a bottle of red Vinho Verde, and it sounds like it was worth it! Thanks for the pairing recs!